Gary Harley – Herald 15.11.22

Tommy Berry had no luck at Saturday’s The Hunter race day at Newcastle however, it may be a different story at Tuesday’s Newcastle race meeting. Berry will be aboard the last three favourites and has a good chance in another race.

The first of the popular jockeys well fancied mounts is three-year-old Vegas Raider in the Kloster Motor Group Midway Benchmark 68 Handicap (900m). The David Pfieffer trained gelding was responsible for an outstanding performance to come from near last on the turn to win the $200,000 Inglis Challenge at Scone on Cup Day. He was beaten 2.78 lengths at Randwick on June 11 and in his only other start Vegas Raider failed at Flemington. A recent, quiet Randwick trial indicates the gelding is ready to win first up.

In race six, the Jennings Print Maiden Handicap (1600m) Berry rides the $2.80 favourite Flexing for John O’Shea. The three-year-old has only had two starts and at Goulburn on October 30 he looked home at the ‘200’ only to be run down late. Flexing has drawn perfectly.

The winning “$2Million Five Diamond’s” combination of Berry and Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou are back together in race seven, the Hunter Valley Premium Meats Maiden Plate (1200m), with $3.80 favourite Cappelletti. The son of Capitalist failed in his only start at Warwick Farm on a heavy 9 in June. He indicated he was ready to win first up with a Hawkesbury trial win recently.

The meeting winds up with the Horsepower CG&E Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m), and O’Shea and Berry combine with the $3.50 favourite This‘llbetheone. The lightly raced four-year-old resumed from a spell at Randwick on Melbourne Cup Day, and after leading to well in the straight he finished third – 1.84 lengths from the winner. He will be fitter second up.

Favourite backers should get off to a successful start thanks to the $2.00 chance Arale in the opening race, the Sharp Office F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m). The mare won two on the trot at Kembla and Hawkesbury in July and then went to the paddock. She cruised in a recent Randwick trial and Tom Sherry rides for the Snowden stable.

Kris Lees’ mare Viennoiserie has been knocking on the door and she gets her chance to break through in The Prince Of Merewether Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1500m). The five-year-old, bred and raced by Gerry Harvey was unlucky in her past two starts on this track. Last start she was held in a pocket late by the boom horse Floating and she was beaten three quarters of a length. Floating confirmed the form with an easy win on Saturday. Viennoiserie will be ridden by Dylan Gibbons and has a perfect draw.

On the back up from an incredible day’s racing on The Hunter Day on Saturday, this is a solid provincial meeting with the rail out four metres.